Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Northanger Abbey

Not nearly as strong as Jane Austen's other novels, this one is a little lacking but makes up for it with beautiful prose and well developed characters. This novel attempts to be gothic in points and I don't believe that is Austen's strong suit; I'm more about deception, societal roles, and romance. This story centers on Catherine, a smart sensible girl of 18 who gets to spend several weeks in Bath with her childless neighbors. While there she becomes best friends with Isabelle and finds herself always going on double dates with Isabelle, her older brother, John, and James, Catherine's older brother. John quite fancies Catherine but she has her eye on Mr. Tinley and she's determined to make his and his younger sister's acquaintance. What's a girl to do (hint, get a husband... but which man to choose?!?!?) Good ol' fashioned regency era romance.

Murder at the Male Revue

I 100% picked this up because of male strippers. I won't even lie. I was like, man they make cozy mysteries about EVERYTHING!! And then I read it in one day. I had no idea that this book was the third in a mystery series (Bucket List Mysteries) AND that it was set in Indiana AND that it was written by a Hoosier father daughter duo. Basically there is a group of senior ladies who are working on crossing items off their sixty lists (bucket lists) and finding dead bodies in the process. While they are catering a charity strip show (Joy had a bucket list item about attending one), the town council president is found murdered backstage. Of course these senior ladies can't be content to let the police have all the fun so they get to work sleuthing and gossiping and having a grand old time. For featuring strippers, this was a pretty clean novel and will be a perfect fit for those who love cozy mysteries. Lots of fun, I may actually read the first two! I really love the characters! They are grannies with character!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The End of the Fucking World

This was a wild ride from start to finish. Fast paced and quick to read in it's comic format this story about a lonely teenage couple roaming around aimlessly is gripping from start to finish. James is an odd duck, he doesn't feel deeply and as a child he had no problem killing animals. He's not a remorseful guy, he's just looking to feel something, anything. He meets Alyssa and he pretends to fall in love with her in an attempt to feel some feelings. She goes along with it because she's lonely and why not. Together they runaway and bum around. They break into a house to sleep while it's owners are on vacation. While there they discover some disturbing satanic items and pictures of mutilated bodies. They stay anyway When the owner returns home Alyssa and James are in for some serious shit. Dark and compelling. Like, really dark, I wonder how the TV adaptation will be.

Let the Dead Bury the Dead

Another fantastic installment in the Christopher Worthy/ Father Fortis Mysteries series. The dynamic duo find themselves working together again when Father Fortis is assigned to help minister to a Church whose priest has just been murdered and Lieutenant Worthy finds himself assigned to that very case. Initial signs point to a theft of alter items but Worthy and Fortis are convinced that it's something more than that. Something they're not seeing. The closer they get to solving the case the more red herrings are thrown their way. Can they find the truth buried in Church gossip or maybe a nearby dumpster? While all this is going on Worthy is trying to salvage his relationship with his daughter and help out his new partner who seems to fly off the handle about everything. With a shocking conclusion that I didn't see coming, this mystery will leave readers guessing up until the very end. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Red Clocks

I was momentarily disoriented in the first 25 pages, but once the format and story-line clicked, it was magic. Fascinating, dark, dreamy, beautiful magic. Told from the perspective of five wildly different women, Red Clocks re-imagines what the United States would be like if abortion was once again illegal and criminalized. The new personhood amendment overturned Roe vs. Wade and harshly persecutes women who abort or attempt to abort while also outlawing single parents from adopting. The women in this novel each deal with this new reality in different ways; with contempt, fear, outrage, and anarchy. It's a perfect read for fans of Margaret Atwood and fans of feminist literature and is more timely then ever. This book will make you think and feel. What a wonderful journey; I look forward to reading more by this wildly talented author.

Maresi

Translated from Finnish, this book is a combination of the horrifying possibilities in The Handmaid's Tale with ancient pagan tales. It's a wonderfully feminist, empowering, dark teen novel. Maresi is a 13 year old novice at the Red Abbey. The Abbey is located on a remote island and only women are allowed. They worship the goddesses and are completely self sufficient from men. Everything changes the day that Jai comes to the island. Maresi takes the scared girl under her wing and shows her the wonders and beauties of an island filled with only women. Little does Maresi know that she may have to take on role as savior for the Abbey and stop hiding behind her books and her new friend Jai. Very fairy tale-esque.

Phasma

I didn't have high expectations for this novel so I was really pleased that I enjoyed it. This addition to the Star Wars universe gives Phasma a much needed back story. It helps reveal her personality, deadly ambition, and character. It was awesome. She was basically a bloodthirsty warrior on a small mostly uninhabited planet. Having grown up in the worst of environments with little to no stability, she became the fiercest warrior in her clan, willing to do whatever it takes to help her come out on top. When a strange ship crashes on her planet she goes out of her way to find the survivors, and escort them to safety; defying clan laws, encroaching on warring clans territory, and jeopardizing her people. If she can help the First Order general then perhaps she can get off her God forsaken planet and actually do more than survive, probably thrive out in the galaxy. A fascinating read.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Woman in the Window

For thrills and plot twists 5 out of 5, I docked it one star overall because I disliked the unreliable narrator (although she did keep things interesting). This book was definitely worthy of the hype surrounding it. I hate comparing it to Gone Girl and The Girl in the Train but...... I have to!! We have an unreliable female narrator who drinks too much, plot twists out the ass, and some dark hidden bits about her past. All intriguing! Basically a 38 year old woman who is "separated" from her husband has shut herself in her large New York City house for the past 10 months. After some mysterious traumatic experience (which the reader is dying to know all about!) she became a hardcore agoraphobic and can't leave the house without having a full fledged panic attack. She passes time watching classic noir movies, playing virtual chess and spying on her neighbors. When a new family moves in something seems off but then when she witnesses a crime in their house, no one believes. She's not making it up... or is she? Definitely unique and worth a read. I sped read this in one day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Canto Bight

This was a quick and fun read that takes place in the Star Wars Universe. Canto Bight is the Casino planet featured in The Last Jedi and it's basically a higher stakes version of Las Vegas. It's a prosperous city with a dark underbelly that will always thrive on greed and war. This book features four short stories by notable sci-fi authors that take place on the casino planet. None of them feature any major characters from the Star Wars series, but there are a few mentions of the impending war and the First Order. The stories feature thugs, gamblers, wine sommeliers, tourists, masseuses, and more. The stories are all vastly different and contain a great number of different species, plot lines, and adventure. They were all fun and entertaining and I would definitely read another compilation like this.

Monday, January 8, 2018

You Need a Budget

An enlightening and interesting way to go about your personal finances. I just picked this up because it was the new years and it sounded like a good idea and I was very impressed. I had not been aware of Jesse Mecham, the founder of YNAB and the finance platform that went with it, but after I read this I joined a few Facebook groups so I could keep up on this. I haven't invested in the software yet, but I am definitely tempted. This plan sounds a lot more doable then a lot of other budget plans I've read. I'd describe it but I don't want to butcher it. Just check it out! It seems easy to use and follow and has great results!

God and Donald Trump

Sweet baby Jesus. I hate read the hell out of this piece of garbage. I HAD to know why people still believe that he is a "Godly" man chosen to lead the people. Basically it boils down to, yes he is a sinner, but God LEADS sinners and uses them for good. God chose Donald Trump to lead the people which is why he got almost ALL the Evangelical vote. This book was so filled with lies and garbage. Comparing Hillary to a Nazi and saying over and over again that she was going to get rid of religious liberties and give out free abortions for all and that she was basically Satan in disguise. She may not have been perfect, but she was none of those things. This book is so hypocritical and laughable. It made me sick reading it. The author is clearly delusional and lying to himself. No one can say that Trump is a good Christian. He's had sexual allegations against him, been married three times, is a bully, owns casinos, doesn't regularly attend church, married a lesbian porn star, etc. Hate read this while you drink.

Live Lagom

A gorgeous little coffee table book filled with luscious photos, great life advice, and words of wisdom about balanced living, the Swedish way. It's a quick read and goes into detail about what Lagom is, how it impacts Swedish culture, and how we can use it and cultivate it in our own lives. It's all about having a happy balance, learning to connect more with family and disconnect with technology. It's about preserving our environment and appreciating what it has to offer us. Also included are some amazing sounding recipes. For fans of all those obsessed with hygge and balanced living.

Unqualified

The extent that I knew Anna Faris before was that she starred in The House Bunny and What's Your Number, and was married to Chris Pratt (mega hunk). This memoir/ self help/ celebrity advice book talked about love, bad decisions, acting, family life, regrets, and other little tidbits. It's not in any way chronological so there is loads of jumping around but that does keep it pretty fresh and keeps the reader on their toes. If you listen to the audiobook it's also narrated by the author herself which is pretty fun. Listening to this memoir made me respect and appreciate Anna Faris more as an actor, although I did not get the "we could be best friends!" vibe that I got from reading Amy Shumer and Mindy Kaling's books. She's a cool chick, but I still have nothing in common with her. Not a bad read.

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties tracks the frightfully fast spread of "Aurora" a sleeping sickness that only affects women. When women fall asleep their face is cocooned in luminous white fluff and if they're awoken they will attack their disturber and kill them before going back to sleep. The world is in a panic, men are committing suicide and it appears the end is near. However in a small town in the Appalachian a woman is able to go to sleep and wake up. Never mind that she went to prison for murdering two meth heads and no one knows her real name, but she might have the answers for this worldwide epidemic and the "cure" might be found right in the sleepy little town of Dooling. There is a massive, wonderful cast of characters. There's good guys, bad guys, inmates, confused souls, and every type of person in between. Stephen King is masterful at bringing his characters to life and this book is no exception. This book isn't scary per se, but it definitely makes you think. A solid addition to the King treasury.